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Sacred River, Dirty River



Sacred River, Dirty River
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.13

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    age-long, Jawaharlal, sins, salvation, sewage, cancer-causing, billion, hazardous, civil, pharmaceutical, organic, pesticide, civilization, banned, manufacturers, engineer
     content words:    In India, Ganges River, Veer Badra Mishra, Himalaya Mountains, Indian Ocean, United States, Ganga Action Plan, National River Conservation Directorate, Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister


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Sacred River, Dirty River
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Caption: Women offer floating lamps to the river Ganga as morning worship.
 
2     Water nourishes many parts of life. We drink it, bathe in it, and cook with it. In India, some water is considered sacred. Indians think of the Ganges River as a goddess. According to Hindu belief, this river can purify sin and help the dead reach heaven. Unfortunately, the purifying Ganges water that can cleanse sins is not very clean.
 
3     According to Hindu tradition, the Ganges River used to be in heaven. She flowed across the sky. She eventually agreed to come down to earth to help a king. The king's ancestors had been burned to ashes. Only the pure Ganges water could help them get to heaven. The Ganges did help the king's relatives. This story is why Hindus want to scatter their loved ones' ashes in the Ganges River. They believe that the river will help their departed loved ones have a peaceful journey into their next life or up to heaven.

Paragraphs 4 to 9:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable


Extended Activities:

1.  Research why DDT has been banned in the United States. What diseases does DDT contribute to? Do you think all countries should ban the use of this pesticide? Why, or why not?

2.  Pretend that you got a job working for the Indian government to save the Ganges River. Design a poster for your "Clean River" campaign. Where would you put your poster? Which people would you like to influence most with your campaign?



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